BLAGDON LAKE BIRDS

September 2016 News


Thursday 1st September [Warm and sunny]

By my reckoning the water level indicates that the lake is about 65% full, so has dropped about 10% during August. At Top End the level is just beginning to expose the lake bed more widely, and if things continue as they are, the back end of the month and October could provide excellent feeding conditions for migrant waders and dabbling ducks.

I had time for a quick look at the lake this morning and saw 2 (adult and juvenile) Common Terns Sterna hirundo in front of the Lodge, 2 Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula, 2 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos, 2 Green Sandpipers Tringa ochropus, an adult Little Egret Egretta garzetta, and a Garganey Anas querquedula. This evening I added a 3rd Ringed Plover in front of the Lodge, 2 Little Egrets (Long and Rugmoor Bays), plus 5 Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope and 19 Little Grebes Tachybaptus ruficollis from the Top End hide.

At last the mystery of the Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus white 'T0(zero)WR has been solved! I've just been sent the following information from the Ornithological Station Museum and Institute PAS, Nadwiślańska 108, 80-680 Gdańsk:

Black '2AAJ' was ringed by Brewood Ringers on 06/06/2016 at Marsh Lane Nature Reserve, which is 87 miles (140 km) as the gull flies from Blagdon.

Friday 2nd September [Some drizzle and some sunshine]

I had time for a quick whizz around this morning before spending the rest of the day (as I did yesterday) working with Robin Prytherch and Ken Carruthers on an exciting bird project, more about which soon.

During my spin I saw 2 Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula, 2 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos, a Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus, 2 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 3 or 4 (not sure) Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, 5 Northern Lapwings Vanellus vanellus, a Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis, and the Garganey Anas querquedula. New in was the first Northern Pintail Anas acuta of the autumn too. Mike O'Connor had a good garden tick at the bottom of Station Road late this afternoon - a Eurasian Hobby Falco subutteo.

Saturday 3rd September [Wet and windy]

I did some bat transport this morning, picking up a Common Pipistrelle Pipistrellus pipistrellus that had a broken elbow joint from a local veterinary surgery and taking it to Secret World, where it was assessed and euthanised, having been kept in captivity for 3 days in pain without food! It's a shame some vets don't understand bats a little better.

Anyway, to the lake. I got there at 1930 hrs and had a quick look around before darkness fell. I saw 5 (2 adult and 3 juvenile) Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula, 2 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos, a Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus, and 2 Garganeys Anas querquedula at Top End (finally). Hopefully, if there are no unforseen calls on my time tomorrow, I'll be able to have a proper look around.

Sunday 4th September [Overcast and breezy]

Considering we had a good amount of rain last night, there was surprisingly little turnover among the birds. A Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis was at Top End, and I saw 3 juvenile Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula, 2 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, and a Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus, aside from all the regulars. In front of the Fishing Lodge there was another ringed Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus white '24H2'. It looks like it's one ringed by the Cotswold Water Park Ringing Group.

Sean Davies texted news at 1430 hrs of 12 (6 adult) Ringed Plovers and a juvenile Dunlin Calidris alpina in front of the Lodge and a Water Rail Rallus aquaticus showing very well at Pipe Bay. Later still, Ken Hall emailed to say he'd seen a Peregrine Falco peregrinus putting everything up by the Lodge at 1555 hrs before disappearing towards Butcombe Bay.

Monday 5th September [Overcast and drizzly]

Sean Davies texted to say he'd seen a juvenile Black Tern Chlidonias niger at The Lodge this morning, but when I popped down hoping for a year tick, the only notables I found were an adult Common Tern Sterna hirundo and adult Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis. An angler told me later he'd seen a Peregrine Falco peregrinus chasing a tern, perhaps the Black? I went down to Top End and saw the Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis and a Great White Egret Ardea alba at Paradise, alongside one of 2 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta that I also saw. I didn't see any Garganey yesterday during my two visits, although one was reported, nor did I this morning, but Ken Hall rang me late this afternoon to say he'd seen the GWE, BNG and a Garganey Anas querquedula. Then, my evening visit turned up 2 Garganeys in front of Top End hide, a Eurasian Hobby Falco subutteo and I watched the Great White Egret fly from Wookey Point high into the trees at Holt Copse, presumably to roost.

Tuesday 6th September [Overcast and warm]

Little change today unfortunately. The Great White Egret Ardea alba was still present until 1300 hrs at least, although flushed by an angler and his dog (reported to the fisheries dept), the Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis was still out from Wookey Point, and I saw a single Garganey Anas querquedula in front of the hide during my visit. The Water Rail Rallus aquaticus was showing very well at Pipe Bay again under the large Willow (view from the Lodge), and I saw 3 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta and 13 Barnacle Geese Branta leucopsis. Paul Williams told me he'd seen 2 Green Sandpipers Tringa ochropus. This evening there was a Eurasian Hobby Falco subutteo hunting at Top End, and the Great White Egret flew east at dusk.

Wednesday 7th September [Mainly sunny]

Again little change by the looks of it, although I was looking for invertebrates in Devon for much of the day. During my look around this evening I saw the Great White Egret Ardea alba, the Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis and 2 Garganeys Anas querquedula from the Top End hide, plus a Peregrine Falco peregrinus, 2 Eurasian Hobbies Falco subutteo and 4 Northern Pintails Anas acuta. The only wader I saw was a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos on the dam wall. The Great White Egret flew east at dusk.

Thursday 8th September [Sunny and breezy]

I know we're not on a recognised migration flyway as such, but it seems extraordinary that there should have been no waders at all at the lake this morning, especially given the acres of lake bed exposed by the dropping. water level. The Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis was still in front of the Top End hide, and Ken Hall and I saw a Garganey Anas querquedula, a Peregrine Falco peregrinus, 4 Northern Pintails Anas acuta, 3 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta and a Eurasian Hobby Falco subutteo. It's disappointing to say the least!

Friday 9th September [Sunshine and showers. Breezy.]

It looked like another grim day's birding until lunchtime, with just a Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis of note in front of the Fishing Lodge. Then we had a brief heavy shower which dropped in a little flock of waders; 5 juvenile Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula, 7 Dunlin Calidris alpina, and a juvenile Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea onto Wookey Point. They didn't stay long, perhaps 20 minutes, with just Ian and Caroline Stapp and myself seeing them before they disappeared as the sun came out again. I spotted 2 Black-necked Grebes Podiceps nigricollis and 2 Garganeys Anas querquedula in front of the hide too. Other counts included 8 Northern Pintails Anas acuta, 35 Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope and a Little Egret Egretta garzetta. There are good numbers of Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata and Gadwall Anas strepera at Top End in the weedy, shallow, water.

Saturday 10th September [Overcast for much of the day with rain on and off until late afternoon]

I was out following the Tour of Britain in Bristol for much of the day, and batting at the lake this evening (its now 0310 hrs Sunday morning), but I did manage a quick look around before we started bat work and saw a Great White Egret Ardea alba, 2 Black-necked Grebes Podiceps nigricollis, a Garganey Anas querquedula, a Little Egret Egretta garzetta and a Canada Goose Branta canadensis with a neck collar orange 'JX' that I haven't had time to chase up yet. Someone also reported seeing 3 Eurasian Hobbies Falco subutteo on the board in the Top End hide. While we were batting a Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata flew through to the west calling, and we also heard at least 2 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos just as it got dark.

Sunday 11th September [Sunny]

I had a brief'ish look at Top End and from the Lodge around lunchtime and saw the Great White Egret Ardea alba, 1 Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis, 6 adult Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos (at Top End unusually), and 2 Northern Lapwings Vanellus vanellus. Angler Steve Usma said he'd seen some birds diving and catching little fish which I said were probably terns, but I didn't see them. Then, just before tea was served, Sean Davies texted to tell me there were 4 (3 adults and a juvenile) Sandwich Terns Sterna sandvicensis in front the Lodge. We also saw an adult Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis and a bird that showed characters of being a Herring x Lesser Black-backed Gull hybrid (which occur in local city breeding colonies according to Pete Rock). This evening there were 2 Garganeys Anas querquedula and 3 Eurasian Hobbies Falco subutteo at Top End.

Monday 12th September [Mainly overcast]

I looked in at the lake twice today, firstly late morning and then again at dusk. New in were 5 juvenile Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula on Wookey Point (unless they've been hiding unseen since Friday - see news from Melanie Patch below). Then there were the usual suspects, starting with the Water Rail Rallus aquaticus at Pipe Bay showing very well again, and the Great White Egret Ardea alba, Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis, 4 adult Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 2 Garganeys Anas querquedula and 2 Eurasian Hobbies Falco subutteo at Top End. This evening I didn't see the Ringed Plovers but had a rather nice and close flight view of a Tawny Owl Strix aluco. I reckon another 5% or so has come off the water level since the beginning of the month, and that we're down to about 60% now.

Late news from Melanie Patch of Ringed Plovers and a Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata on Saturday.

Tuesday 13th September [Thundery]

This months British Birds, 109, Sept. 2016, includes an obituary to Hugh John Boyd (1925-2016) on pages 546-547. I wasn't fortunate enough to have met Hugh, but he was a pioneering ornithologist who conducted wildfowl counts at Blagdon Lake from at least 1945, with my last database record attributed to him in 1957. After a period as warden on Lundy Island, "he was employed by Peter Scott as the first-ever research biologist at the fledgling Severn Wildfowl Trust... at Slimbridge." "Eventually, Hugh moved on, first to Scotland - seconded to the Nature Conservancy to work on his beloved geese - and then, in 1967, to the Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS), where he was appointed Head of Research for Eastern Canada. He was quickly promoted to Chief of Migratory Birds in CWS." He retired in 1991, and passed away in Ottawa, Canada, on 3rd July at the age of 91. Hugh, and obituary co-editor Keith Fox, were both pioneers of the wildfowl counts that continue to this day at the lake, resulting in one of the longest continuous data sets of its kind.

Late morning news includes the Great White Egret Ardea alba, Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis, 7 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, a Garganey Anas querquedula and a juvenile Eurasian Hobby Falco subutteo from Top End hide. The Pipe Bay Water Rail Rallus aquaticus was still showing well, with 2 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos on the dam wall. In this weather, it is quite possible that new birds will drop in, so I went down again late in the afternoon and saw 2 Garganeys, a Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus, an adult Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis, and adult Herring Gull Larus argentatus blue 'G:P', a ♂ ringed during July 2004 in Bristol by Pete Rock. Counts included 68 Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope, 13+ Great Black-backed Gulls Larus marinus (including green 'L42') and 3 Mistle Thrushes Turdus viscivorus (the first I've seen for some time).

Wednesday 14th September [Sunny and warm]

It was nice to meet up with Terry Grant in the Top End hide again today, and we spent an hour or more together scanning through the birds. Between us we spotted the Great White Egret Ardea alba, the Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis, 6 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 3+ Garganeys Anas querquedula, 2 Eurasian Hobbies Falco subutteo, 5 Northern Lapwings Vanellus vanellus, 3 Common Snipe and 8 Northern Pintails Anas acuta. I also saw a ringed juvenile Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus on Tiny's Shallow, yellow 'D:DY', which will undoubtedly be one of the Flatholm birds (I'll confirm when I hear back).

This afternoon I'm doing a bat roost visit in Chew Magna and we will be bat trapping at Chew Valley Lake tonight, as part of the National Nathusius' Project, so I probably won't get down to Blagdon again.

Thursday 15th September [Sunny and warm]

I didn't get a chance to visit the lake until early evening and saw the Great White Egret Ardea alba, the Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis, 11 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 4 Garganeys Anas querquedula, and 2 Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago.

We had a good night bat trapping at Chew last night (see Bat News).

Thijs Valkenburg of RIAS (Centro de Recuperação e Investigação de Animais Selvagens Ria Formosa), wrote back to me about the Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus that I saw at Blagdon Lake on 25th August as follows: "Thank you very much for this sighting. This bird is one of the few I ringed on a landfill in the Algarve. So no injuries on this bird, I was catching storks and also caught some gulls. Please find the life-history attached.

Ringing date: 02/01/2014 Ringing location: Aterro Sanitário de Porto Lagos
Age: 2nd Year
Ringer: Thijs Valkenburg Color ring: F352 Metal ring: M23223

OBSERVATIONS

05/01/2014 Portimão, Portugal, Jacob de Vries
06/01/2014 Portimão, Portugal, Jacob de Vries
18/01/2014 Portimão, Portugal, Nelson Fonseca, Ana Aguileira & Guillaume R.
12/02/2014 Olhão, Portugal, Georg Schreier
15/02/2014 Olhão, Portugal, Thijs Valkenburg
18/03/2014 Olhão, Portugal, Tiago Ventura
11/05/2014 Olhão, Portugal, Antonio Cotão
12/05/2014 Olhão, Portugal, J. Schwedler
18/07/2014 Olhão, Portugal, Lieuwe Anema
03/08/2015 Cardiff, United Kingdom, Stephen R Howe
11/09/2015 Cardiff, United Kingdom, Michael Thornton
25/08/2016 Blagdon Lake, United Kingdom, Nigel Milbourne

Friday 16th September [Sunny and warm]

I didn't go birding at the lake today, instead I was working again with Robin Prytherch and Ken Carruthers on a joint ornithological initiative.

Saturday 17th September [Sunny and warm]

I didn't see the Great White Egret or Black-necked Grebe today, but did see 7 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 5 Northern Lapwings Vanellus vanellus and counted 65 Great Crested Grebes Podiceps cristatus. Sean Davies contacted me earlier in the day and reported a juvenile Ruff Philomachus pugnax that I also saw in the afternoon at Top End. He also saw 3 Dunlin Calidris alpina, 3 Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula, 2 Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago and a Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe that had all gone by the time I got there.

Sunday 18th September [Sunny and warm]

I spent the day beside the lake checking bat boxes, but also had a look at the birds early this morning in front of the Lodge and at Top End at dusk. I saw the Great White Egret Ardea alba, 6+ Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, and 3 Northern Lapwings Vanellus vanellus of note. Steve and Karen also had a look around and reported 46 Mute Swans Cygnus olor, 5 Northern Lapwings, 2 Sand Martins Riparia riparia, and 8 Little Egrets, among others.

Our little group of bat workers had a very enjoyable day checking the boxes (results in Bat News).

Monday 19th September [Overcast and wet this morning]

Yay! A better day at Blagdon. I found a Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia on Rugmoor Point at about 1130 hrs this morning, among a host of 11 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta and the Great White Egret Ardea alba. If it hadn't been for the weather you could have been forgiven for thinking you were along the Mediterranean coast. The Spooner didn't appear to be an adult or juvenile, so is best described as an immature at present, at least until I've had a chance to read up about ageing them. It's the 3rd site record, with the first two both seen flying over (2010 and 2014) and was still present and best viewed from Rugmoor Gate at 1400 hrs. Also noted this morning were 5 Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula, 2 Dunlin Calidris alpina, a juvenile Ruff Philomachus pugnax, a Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa, 6+ Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago, and passage Sand Martins Riparia riparia among the hirundines. There was a ringed adult Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus black '9CH0' on Tiny's Shallow too.

Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia, Rugmoor Point © Nigel Milbourne, 2016

Great White Ardea alba and Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, Rugmoor Point © Nigel Milbourne, 2016

Tuesday 20th September [Overcast most of the day with early drizzle]

I made two visits today. Mid-morning I saw the Great White Egret Ardea alba and 14 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, but no sign of the Spoonbill. However, the juvenile Ruff Philomachus pugnax, Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa, and 2+ Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago were all visible then, and again at dusk. A lone Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiaca was on Wookey Point for a while as well this evening before flying off towards Chew. There was no sign of any Eurasian Hobbies either this evening, so perhaps they've headed south already? The water continues to drop rapidly and many of the wildfowl are quite a way from the Top End hide making it difficult to pick out birds like Garganey.

I had a quick look through a Spoonbill ageing paper by Alexander Hellquist last night, which suggests that yesterday's bird could probably be aged as a 2nd calendar year (autumn), although I will find time for a more thorough search through the literature for a broader view before committing pen to paper.

Wednesday 21st September [Mainly sunny]

It was a case of 'Every Little Boys Dream' today. A visit to the lake in the morning produced 3 Great White Egrets Ardea alba for Ken Hall and myself, the juvenile Ruff Philomachus pugnax, 3 Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago, the first Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis of autumn, 4 Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula and a Dunlin Calidris alpina. Ken added 12 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta (I only saw 8), the Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiaca flying in from the east to Rugmoor Bay, a Peregrine Falco peregrinus and 14 Northern Lapwings Vanellus vanellus. In the evening I counted 12 Ringed Plovers and 4 Dunlin and saw an adult Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis all from the Lodge. The 3 Great White Egrets and Ruff were still present as well.

The adult ♂ Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus black '9CH0' observed on Tiny's Shallow last Monday was ringed on Guernsey at Chouet Landfill as a 3rd-year on 22/05/2014 by Paul K Veron (see Guernsey Gulls).

After I'd visited the lake this morning, my brother Ross and I went to the East Somerset Railway for an engine driver 'taster session', and had the opportunity to drive Ivatt Class 2 2-6-0 No. 46447 from Cranmore to Mendip Halt and back, as well as cab the engine for a service train return journey! After spending the afternoon on the railway, we went to Whitstones Fish & Chip Restaurant in Shepton Mallet for a large haddock supper washed down with a pint of Thatchers Gold... What could be better?

Tomorrow night I'm giving my 'Birds & Wildlife of Blagdon Lake' talk to Avon Wildlife Trust Chew Magna Group at the Millennium Hall, at 2000 hrs. All are welcome.

Thursday 22nd September [Sunny with a cool breeze]

A mid-morning look around produced 3 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, 12 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, the juvenile Ruff Philomachus pugnax, 2 Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago, 12 Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula, 3 Dunlin Calidris alpina and a Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus. I also counted 28 Northern Pintails Anas acuta in the throng at Top End, but put off totting up the Eurasian Wigeon again until we do the WeBS count.

I'm giving my 'Birds & Wildlife of Blagdon Lake' talk to Avon Wildlife Trust Chew Magna Group at the Millennium Hall, at 2000 hrs tonight. All are welcome.

Friday 23rd September [Sunny]

I had a call as I was about to go to the lake at lunchtime to say there was a plover sp. at Top End. It flew just before I arrrived and was relocated at Burmah Road hiding from the marauding Peregrine Falco peregrinus in a depression high up the shore. We spent ages looking at its head and shoulders with the 'jury' split on its identity. It finally revealed itself to be a juvenile Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola (only the 18th or 19th site record). I also saw 2 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, 14 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 18 Northern Lapwings Vanellus vanellus (18 per Ian Stapp, I only saw 13), a single Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago, 3 Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula, and two ringed gulls (GBB Gull Green L42[2012] and Herring Gull Blue G:P[2004]).

Saturday 24th September [Getting windy but still sunny]

I spent an interesting morning with Mark Hynam at the lake. We now have 4 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, 14 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 28 Northern Lapwings Vanellus vanellus, a juvenile Little Stint Calidris minuta (look on Rugmoor Point for this one), the Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola, 14 Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula, 2 Dunlin Calidris alpina, an Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiaca, an adult Greylag Anser anser, and I counted 335 Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope and 30 Northern Pintails Anas acuta. While at the Lodge I heard a Water Rail Rallus aquaticus squealing in Pipe Bay reeds.

We will be bat trapping this evening at the Lodge if anyone wants to join us. Start time will be shortly after 1900 hrs.

Sunday 25th September [Blustery, with sunshine and showers.]

I had a quick look around this morning before going out walking with friends. I saw 3 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, 10 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 11 Northern Lapwings Vanellus vanellus, the Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola, 3 Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula and a juvenile Eurasian Hobby Falco subutteo. While checking the dam at least 2 calling Eurasian Siskins Carduelis spinus flew over unseen.

This evening I saw a Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus that may have been responsible for putting a flock of 15-20 small waders to flight. They headed west past Rainbow Point and I couldn't relocate them. I counted 25 Northern Lapwings, but Ian Stapp emailed to say he'd counted 28. I also saw a single Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago and three gulls with rings in front of the Lodge; Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus Green 'L42'[2012], Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus Black 9CH0, and a new Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus that looked like Blue CNK.

We had a slightly disappointing time bat trapping last night but did catch another ♂ Nathusius' Pipistrelle Pipistrellus nathusii (see Bat News for catch details). We were forced to shorten the session by the onset of steady rain just before midnight.

Monday 26th September [Rain on and off]

The juvenile Little Stint Calidris minuta was in front of the Lodge until 1400 hrs at least, where there was also a Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe mid-morning. A blizzard of gulls came in at lunchtime with good numbers of Black-headed Chroicocephalus ridibundus and Herring Gulls Larus argentatus. An adult winter Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis and two familiar ringed individuals, Great Black-backed, Green L42[2012], and Herring Gull, Blue G:P[2004], were among the throng. Other notables included 2 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, 12 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 24 Northern Lapwings Vanellus vanellus, the Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola, 14 Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula, 4 Dunlin Calidris alpina, 32 Northern Pintails Anas acuta, a Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus and a juvenile Eurasian Hobby Falco subutteo. I'm assuming the flock of small waders I saw last night were the Ringed Plovers and Dunlin that have been around for a number of days, but not always visible. The (probable ♂) Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiaca was on Wookey Point again this evening, as it often is, before it flies off towards Chew, presumably to roost.

We will be carrying out the postponed WeBS count tomorrow morning.

Tuesday 27th September [Mainly dry with a little drizzle later in the afternoon]

Terry Doman, Roy Curber and I carried out the WeBS count today - it took from 0930 to 1500 hrs! We had two new species record counts viz. 581 Northern Shovelers Anas clypeatus and 162 Common Moorhens Gallinula chloropus. There were also good numbers of other dabbling ducks, especially 336 Gadwall Anas strepara, 392 Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope, and 1129 Eurasian Teal Anas crecca. However, to counter that we had an exceedingly disappointing count of just 41 Tufted Ducks Aythya fuligula and 26 Common Pochards Aythya ferina. Other notable species were much the same as the last few days with 2 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, 12 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 26 Northern Lapwings Vanellus vanellus, 14 Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula, 4 Dunlin Calidris alpina, the juvenile Little Stint Calidris minuta, 30 Northern Pintails Anas acuta, the Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiaca, 2 Peregrine Falcons Falco peregrinus and the juvenile Eurasian Hobby Falco subutteo. Full count details are on the WeBS Page except for the gulls, which will be counted at roost throughout the winter months (Sept. to Mar.).

Wednesday 28th September [Mainly dry]

I spent most of the day with Ken Anstey checking bat boxes on the east side of Bristol, but had a look around the lake late this afternoon. I saw 3 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, 13 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 28 Northern Lapwings Vanellus vanellus, 13 Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula, 4 Dunlin Calidris alpina, an adult winter Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis and a Eurasian Hobby Falco subutteo. Richard Mielcarek saw 2 Little Stints Calidris minuta in front of the Lodge earlier in the day that had apparently moved on by the time I visited. Thanks for the record Rich.

Thursday 29th September [Sunny spells and blustery]

Keith Vinicombe told me he'd seen a Little Stint Calidris minuta, briefly, in front of the Lodge this afternoon, but I didn't manage to connect with one during my visit. I did, however, spot a Common Tern Sterna hirundo flying through to the west. Otherwise, it was much the same old, same old, with 2 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, 10 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 28 Northern Lapwings Vanellus vanellus, 13 Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula, 3 Dunlin Calidris alpina, plus the usual Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus and Eurasian Hobby Falco subutteo. French Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus, Green L42[2012] was on Tiny's Shallow with the roosting gulls again today, as it was yesterday.

Friday 30th September [Sunny]

I only had time for two very quick looks today but saw 3 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, 10 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 5 Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula, 2 Dunlin Calidris alpina, and 2 Little Stints Calidris minuta (although one gave the impression of being slightly bigger than the other out on the far side of Rugmoor Point at dusk, so might need to be double-checked tomorrow). Mike Gillett had a look around at lunchtime and saw 10 Ringed Plovers in front of the Lodge with 3 Dunlin, 2 (probable) Little Stints, and counted 15 Northern Lapwings Vanellus vanellus at Top End.